Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Sheer Joy of a New Bike



For only the third time in my life I am about to be the proud owner of a brand new bicycle. This might seem reasonable to some people, but how I've managed to find myself in this situation only twice before is beyond me. I'm currently the owner of a stable of eight complete bikes and more odd wheels and half finished projects than you can shake a spoke at. I've been racing bicycles for almost half of my lifetime, yet all but a couple of the bikes that I've ever owned have been acquired second hand and have often been built from a hotch potch of parts with varying suitability for their purpose. For those in the know, I've had Campagnolo bikes with Shimano brakes (quelle horreur!), race bikes with mountain bike seatposts (oh how I recoil) and probably half of the bikes I've ever ridden have been the wrong size.

You'll (maybe) understand my glee then, when I tell you that my new bike will be perfect. Sure, it won't be a superbike; I won't have the top level frame, groupset or wheels, but everything will be just right. Everything will be new, clean. Everything will match: I'm feeding the obsessive compulsive in me. I won't be riding a mongrel. For the first time I might find myself on a level playing field with some of those I race against, even though spending less than two grand means that I will have spent a quarter as much as some others.

But I don't care about those with all the gear and no idea, I will let my legs do the talking. They will repeat phrases they have learned during the masses of miles I have put in over the winter (yes, on one of those mongrel bikes that's too big for me), and their platform will be a bike on which everything is actually designed for the purpose for which it's being used: racing.

I'll wash my new bike every time I ride it (at least at first), and I'll only ride it when I'm racing or the weather is perfect. I'll ensure that my valve stems match up with the logos on my tyres, who doesn't? I'll insure it, after all, it's probably the most expensive thing I've ever owned. I'll covet and protect it with the kind of tender loving care usually reserved for a newborn child. The first scratch will break my heart, but I'm sure it will happen - this bike is for riding.

My new bike and I are going to have a beautiful relationship, and this is just the start.